Qui plus fait, miex vault : evaluating combat in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Michael Osborne (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Robert L. Kelly

Abstract: "I seek to correct a deficiency in Malory studies, the inadequate attention paid to the thematic implications of Malory's treatment of armor and various forms of combat. I explore three topics: Malory's changes to his source texts in his depiction of the style of armor and the form of tournaments insofar as they bear on defining the temporal setting of his narrative; Malory's implicit definition of the virtues of the ideal knight errant and tournament champion; and his definition of the knight-commander in war. My over-arching conclusion is that Malory's treatment of combat is essentially ethical. The style of both armor and tournament combat in Malory both suggest a pre-fifteenth-century temporal setting, a finding which suggests that scholars' attempts to evaluate the behavior of Malory's knights in the light of fifteenth-century tournament regulations are anachronistic. "checklist" of virtues for the ideal knight is created through discussions by Malory's leading knights. Malory's "score-keeping" of tournament performance is therefore important to clarify which knights are qualified to participate in this discussion. The chivalric virtues recommended conform closely to those praised in the medieval manuals of Lull, Charny, and Bouvet. The qualities so defined become the standard by which to judge the relative merits of Malory's knights. From a close comparison and contrast of leading knights, Lancelot emerges as the ideal exemplar of the knight errant and tourney champion. From a similar comparative study of knights who take command in war, in particular, King Arthur, Lancelot, Tristram, and Gawain, Lancelot also emerges as the ideal knight-commander, both in the light of the skills of military leadership recommended by medieval military manuals as well as the ethical standard provided by the medieval concept of the just war."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
Thomas Malory, armor, combat, knight, tournament, chivalric virtues
Knights and knighthood
Chivalry in literature
Combat in literature

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